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Member since Aug-09-04 · Last seen Feb-05-23
Mariano Sana, Argentinian by birth, in the US since 1995. Naturalized US citizen in 2015. I hold a PhD in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania, and I am an associate professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University: Previously, I was at Louisiana State University (2003-2009).

My published academic work can be seen here: My review of Gary Alan Fine's "Players and Pawns" is here:

My avatar comes from a cartoon of mine drawn by a friend. My username, besides the pasta, is my late cat's name (he died in March 2021, age 19), inspired by this cartoon:

My first tournament was at age 12 in 1979. I finished 8th in the Argentine junior championship in 1985. So, I was good enough, but not great. (That same evaluation might still be apt today, on a good day.) Unfortunately, no game scores survived from those years. I started to play again after grad school. I play between 0 and 4 tournaments per year, if we count only slow time controls.

I won the Louisiana State Championship in 2007. I lost the first game and then won six in a row. This was my last round win, where I got lucky after playing the opening pretty terribly: J Rousselle vs M Sana, 2007.

I also won the under 2200 section of the US Open in 2014. Again, Swiss gambit. Lost the first one, then won five in a row, lost game 7, and won games 8 and 9. My last round win was featured as a Tuesday puzzle: K Gulamali vs M Sana, 2014.

I'd say that I am essentially a good but inconsistent player. My playing style is a mix of strategic and tactical. I'm usually very willing to sac a pawn or allow positional weaknesses in exchange for active piece play. For years I hovered around 2200, down to mid 2100s a few years ago after a +1 =0 -6 disaster and a 50-point loss at the 2019 World Open. (Aging and MS fatigue had much to do with that.) On a good day, I can score wins like these: (T Bartell vs M Sana, 2009, R Burnett vs M Sana, 2012, M Sana vs C Blocker, 2014, M Sana vs R Burnett, 2015). But on a bad day, I can play horribly and lose against whoever is sitting in front of me, losing tons of rating points at once.

I was diagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2011, but it didn't cause me trouble until 2018/9. I have a weak right leg (I often use a cane now) and I fatigue easily. The latter may mean that it's time for me to retire from chess competition.

My participation on this website goes through ebbs and flows, and the majority of my posts are about chess. I often post on my own forum just to keep records for myself. Everyone is welcome to visit and share! (But please don't post about politics here.)

>> Click here to see Fusilli's game collections. Full Member

   Fusilli has kibitzed 5274 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Feb-03-23 Gulko vs A Panchenko, 1981
Fusilli: <stone> lol... That didn't occur to me either, even though it makes much more sense!
   Feb-03-23 Caruana vs Carlsen, 2023 (replies)
Fusilli: <Ulhumbrus> Principled positional analysis. Before paying 17.Nc4, white would have to calculate the complications after 17...Nxb3, right? If 18.Nxe5 Rxc3 seems good for black. If 18.Qxb3 Nd3 forks rook and bishop, and I don't know what happens, but maybe Caruana calculated and
   Jan-28-23 I Krush vs J Becerra Rivero, 2000 (replies)
Fusilli: <agb2002> <I admit I lost interest in the puzzle when I found 37.Qd7 after a lot of work on 36... Rc8.> I know that feeling! I think you mean 37.Rd7, not 37.Qd7.
   Jan-28-23 Fusilli chessforum
Fusilli: <OCF ... only other maybe move Qe4 met by Re4.> P.S. I didn't even see the Qe4 possibility!
   Jan-27-23 Velimirovic vs S Bouaziz, 1987
Fusilli: <keypusher: ...but Velimirovic also left his king in the center :-)> Yes, but I like him. He had a cool last name. And if he had been Argentine, he would have been a fan of Boca Juniors. So, his leaving the king in the center is fine. See, nothing you can do against scientific
   Jan-27-23 Andersson vs Velimirovic, 1987
Fusilli: Wow, hard to believe Andersson missed such a straightforward win. 29. Rxg6+ wins clearly, and so does 29.Qf4, as <Mateo> said, <as it threatens at the same time Qxd2 and Rxg563682941+.> :D
   Jan-26-23 S Urusov vs Ben, 1862 (replies)
Fusilli: <scormus>! Not sure if you check your forum, but do! I left you a message there.
   Jan-26-23 scormus chessforum
Fusilli: Hey <scormus>! I see you posted on a game. I thought you were gone. I saw Stuck Elevator, put up by Nashville Opera, last weekend. Super interesting! I recommend it. The production was impressive (small theater and amazing use of a limited space, light, and staging). The ...
   Jan-24-23 Kibitzer's Café (replies)
Fusilli: <harrylime> <Bogart like Mary Shelley or Beethoven seems to be in or out ... depending which decade you are living in ... > True. As for my individual rather than societal preference, I think the secret is not to wear yourself out. I watch it every five years or so, or
   Jan-24-23 C Becx vs Yermolinsky, 1989
Fusilli: Yermo must have been too eager to win this game. (He won this open tournament with +8 -1 and this was his one loss.) Something went seriously wrong in the transition from this position, after 25.Qa3: [DIAGRAM] where it's even and both players have two sets of grouped pawns (did we ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

My Facerook Wall

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 72 OF 82 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-22-22  areknames: <Scotland was definitely considered one of the five or so favorites in 1978>

I've done a little research and to some extent that appears to be the case. They had a good squad and some very fine players, Dalglish, Gemmill and Joe Jordan to name but a few. They were guilty of undestimating their opponents however and it cost them dearly. In any event I seriously doubt they have gotten anywhere facing Argentina and Brazil.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <They were guilty of undestimating their opponents however and it cost them dearly.>

That's what reporters said. Specifically that they didn't pay enough attention to Teofilo Cubillas, who scored twice from outside the penalty area.

Nov-23-22  areknames: <Teofilo Cubillas, who scored twice from outside the penalty area> I had a look at those goals; they were pretty much identical even though one was a free kick, two cruise missiles from the same spot which ended up in the same corner. No goalkeeper ever made could have saved those shots. I was just a young kid at the time but I remember Cubillas being heralded as a superstar and a player to watch out for before the Cup started but the Scots, or at least their coach, must have been oblivious to this. One source claims that a TV channel offered to cover MacLeod's expenses to travel to SA before the event to scout Peru but he refused. Definitely a measure of hubris involved there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Croatia/Morroco 0-0 final.

An entertaining game, no goals but it wasn't boring. I also had a déja vu experience at the 80 minute mark. Probably because I didn't get much sleep last night (which is a theory of mine).

Germany/Japan coming up. (sounds like WW2)

Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Wow, great game! Japan beats Germany in the most exciting match so far. The Asian soccer is different from the European soccer and it shows in this game Japan 2 Germany 1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: After the exciting Japan/Germany game we get the not so exciting and rather sloppy Belgium/Canada game. The Spanish language commentators are going out of their way to praise the first timer team Canada but they are unconvincing and Canada is playing too individually. Johnson and Davis (which sounds like a pharmaceutical company) are trying too hard to make Canada's first goal ever in a World Cup.

Belgium 1 Canada 0 at half time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Johnson and Davis (which sounds like a pharmaceutical company)>

They do!

I was busy all day with an in-house move. We moved the master bedroom downstairs (I live in a two-story house), with a domino effect that took us to reorganizing several rooms and swapping a lot of furniture between the floors. We hired movers, of course. The point is that going up and down the stairs is hard on me (I have a weak leg from MS), so now I will live pretty much on the first floor only. My wife gets the whole second floor to herself! I call it her girl attic. Men have man caves in basements. There should be an equivalent for women on the second floor!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I watched all the FIFA 5-minute highlight videos. Japan-Germany did look super exciting, as reported by <TD>.

I have nothing against the Germans, but I kinda feel good that Argentina is not the only candidate to go down in their first game.

Several heroic saves from goalkeepers today.

Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: <Fusilli> < There should be an equivalent for women on the second floor!>

I have a better deal. I live in one house and my wife lives in another. Of course we are in our early 70's and we get on each other's nerves. Soon we will celebrate 40 years of happy marriage thanks to our unique living arrangements. Happy Thanksgiving to all and remember to share!

Nov-24-22  areknames: I thought Canada played surprisingly well, although they weren't very effective in front of goal. Of course, and I know this sounds a bit glib, but if you are a minnow facing a giant you really need to convert those penalties, that's the best chance you'll get.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Oh, Canada! You must remember you're playing with the big boys now. Make adjustments and good luck.
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: Puede Ghana ganar? Las ganas!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <TD><I have a better deal. I live in one house and my wife lives in another.>

Good strategy! My wife and I have separate rooms, actually. Or, rather, we go to sleep together and a couple of hours later she wakes up and moves to "her" room. This is because she has restless leg syndrome and light sleep in general. If she stays in bed, she may kick me or otherwise wake me up. So, we found the two-room strategy to be the best solution. It works marvels. A good night sleep is the secret to true happiness!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: As an Argentine, I am suppose to cheer against Brazil, but when I see them display the kind of game they played against Serbia, I just can't. Especially after the spectacular second goal.

Well done, Brazil.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <technical draw: Puede Ghana ganar? Las ganas!>

Or... No le da la Ghana.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <technical draw: First match is over: Ecuador 2 Qatar 0. This is the first time in world cup history that the host country loses the initial match.>

And they now made it two losses. They may end being the first team to go home... Only that they are home already.

There is a lesson in everything. No matter how much money you spend and how many immigrant workers you exploit, you just can't buy your way into the world soccer elite.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: In the trivia department, wasn't South Africa the first host ever not to make it to the second round so far?
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Richarlison's goal was a lesser version of Dele Ali's goal a few years ago:

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: These teams have had so little practice time, due to the tournament being played in the middle of league seasons.

I suspect some teams are going to improve significantly as the players get used to playing together.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Poland v Saudi Arabia was interesting. More or less even, but the Poles were more effective, and the Saudis just fell apart in the second half. The psychological burden of the missed penalty kick and the blunder that conceded the second Polish goal was too much for them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Mexico vs. Argentina.

After a collision a Mexican player goes down holding his head in both hands. Replay immediately shows his head was untouched.

Maybe he's vying for the 2022 "Neymar" award.

Nov-27-22  Keyser Soze: <saffuna: Richarlison's goal was a lesser version of Dele Ali's goal a few years ago:>

Nope. They are totally different goals. You cant compare them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: Let's see. Both Dele Ali and Richarlison took a pass from the left in the air, flipped the ball into the air, spun around and leaped to kick the ball from 4-5 feet in the air, never letting the ball touch the ground.

So, right, can't compare them.

Nov-27-22  Keyser Soze: <So, right, can't compare them.>

That's right. Especially because Richarlison kicked the ball coming from a MUCH faster speed than your weird example. If so, Van Basten's goal in 1988 against Russia is also comparable. You never played soccer it seems.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <You never played soccer it seems.>

No personal jabs on my forum please.

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